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A hotel is an institution that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Amenities provided may range from a modest-quality bed in a small room to large suites with bigger higher-quality mattress, a refrigerator, a dresser and other kitchen facilities, a flat screen television, upholstered chairs and en-suite bathrooms.

Small lower-priced hotels may provide only the most basic guest services and facilities while Larger, higher-priced hotels could provide additional guest facilities such as a business centre(with printers, computers and other office equipment), childcare and event facilities, tennis or basketball court,s restaurants,  gymnasium, day spa, conference and social function services.

Hotel rooms are usually numbered to allow guests to find their room. Some boutique high-end hotels have decorated rooms.

Some hotels provides meals as part of a room and board arrangement. In the United Kingdom, a hotel is mandatory by law to serve food and drinks to all guests within specific stated hours. In Japan, capsule hotels offer a tiny room suitable only for sleeping and shared bathroom facilities.

The predecessor to the modern hotel was the inn of medieval Europe. For an era of about 200 years from the mid-17th century, coaching inns have served as a place for lodging for coach travelers. Inns began to provide for richer clients in the mid-18th century. One of the first hotels in a contemporary sense was opened in Exeter in 1768. Hotels multiplied throughout Western Europe and North America in the early 19th century and luxury hotels spring up in the later part of the 19th century.

Hotel operations differ in size, complexity, function and cost. Most hotels and major hospitality companies have set industry principles to classify hotel types.